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Hoola Hoops at Phillips Petroleum Museum

February 12, 2009

Oil has been an important part of Oklahoma’s heritage and economy for years. Bartlesville, OK is the headquarters for Phillips 66 Petroleum found by two brothers Frank and L.E. Phillips. In 1905 they hit the first of 81 successful oil wells without hitting a dry hole. A visit to the Phillips Petroleum Company Museum features many displays on the company from its beginnings to present. Conoco merged with Phillips in 2002 thus forming ConocoPhillips.

A short video gives you a brief look at Phillips history before entering the museum and taking in the many exhibits at your leisure. I was particularly interested in the area that portrayed the oil camps as my dad had just been telling me what he recollected of living in a Phillips camp near Seminole, Oklahoma as a small child. He says he started school while the family lived in one of the oil camps that provided housing for the workers. It seems as the the oil fields had brought so many workers to the area that there was not enough housing so the oil companies provided housing in the oil camps.

While visiting the museum I was surprised to learn that it was Phillips that was responsible for one of my favorite childhood toys, the Hula Hoop. It was the Phillips Chemical Company that developed a plastic called marlex it was this plastic that Hoola Hoops were made of. Oh, the memories…I could really make that hoop go.

There is no admission to the museum that is located at 410 S Keeler, Bartlesville, OK. which is open 10 am-4:00 pm Monday-Saturday. Phone 918-661-8687.

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